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Banking & Finance

India has highest concentration of fintech hubs in Asia

Emerging economies outrank developed countries in financial innovation

India is home to six of the world's top 100 cities in terms of fintech innovation and has the most such hubs in Asia, according to research group Findexable. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

TOKYO -- India is leading Asia in financial technology innovation in terms of having the most fintech hubs among countries in the region, according to a report released Wednesday by Findexable, a London-based research company.

Among the world's 100 leading fintech cities, six were now located in India, the report said. They include Bangalore, ranked in seventh place, Mumbai at No. 10 and New Delhi at 16.

Traditional financial centers tend to trail behind in terms of fintech innovation, the report found, with Tokyo coming in at No. 17, Amsterdam at 24, Zurich 38 and Frankfurt 39. More than 230 cities from 65 countries were compared on various metrics including the number of local fintech unicorns, access to online payment services and the vibrancy of their fintech communities.

Globally, the U.S. has dominated the list, with seven of its cities making it into the top 20, including San Francisco Bay topping the ranking, New York at No. 3, Los Angeles 6 and Boston at 8.

China had four cities in the top 100, including Hong Kong at 11, Beijing at 23 and Shanghai 31. Japan had just one.

"Financial wealth is no guarantee of a city's status as a fintech hub," the report said. "You might call this the rise of nontraditional finance."

India has become a center of financial technology, sparked in part by a ban on large denomination bank notes and the introduction of instant bank transfer services on a mobile platform in 2016. The initiatives resulted in major disruption to the Indian economy, but have also helped spark a rapid shift to digital banking in the country, with banking services accessible for the first time to a large portion of the population.

In Japan, by contrast, mobile payments have been slow to catch on due to the continued prevalence of cash for retail transactions. In a bid to raise the share of cashless payments to 40% by 2025, the government has introduced schemes such as offering discounts to shoppers making mobile payments and subsidizing merchants who install cashless payment terminals.

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